PETROL prices in west Wiltshire have climbed to their highest level in two years, according to the RAC motoring organisation.

Retailers may be charging more to make up for lower fuel sales during the pandemic, it said.

Pump prices fell in May 2020 to a low of 106p as oil prices plummeted, but motorists had to abide by travel restrictions.

The average cost of a litre of unleaded has since soared to 129.3p, the highest level since August 2019. The average cost of a litre of diesel is now 131.7p, according to Allstar.

Within a five-mile radius of Trowbridge, the cheapest forecourt for a litre of unleaded petrol is the BP station on the West Ashton Road at 126.9p.

The most expensive at 135.9p per litre is the Texaco Trowbridge station next to the Central C Stores at Hilperton.

In the Devizes area, the Esso Garage on London Road, the Esso Garage on Northgate Street and the Murco on Bath Road all share the 127.9p price. Murco on Horton Road is slightly higher at 129.9p

In Marlborough, the town's three garages all share the 129.9p price.

Burbage Petrol Station has a slightly cheaper price - 127.7p.

The cost of a litre of unleaded is now more than 22p more expensive than a year ago - the biggest 12-month increase seen for 11 years.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "After seven consecutive months of rising prices drivers will be wondering if the increases are ever going to end."

Motorists have faced the biggest petrol price rise in any 12-month period since May 2010 when unleaded rocketed from 99p a year earlier to 121p, he said.

Unleaded petrol has climbed 2p in the last month and 15p since November, since when prices have climbed every month. That has left motorists paying £8 more for a full tank of petrol than seven months ago.

Diesel prices are climbing slightly less rapidly, up just less than 20p a litre over the last 12 months.

"Looking at the wholesale price of both fuels, in normal circumstances unleaded definitely shouldn't be continuing to rise with the numbers actually pointing to the potential for a 2p reduction," Mr Williams said.

He added that diesel is 4p too expensive "which suggests retailers are using the saving in the wholesale price to help make up for lower fuel sales over the last year".

The future of fuel prices is hard to predict more than a few weeks in advance and even more so now as the pandemic appears to have altered the dynamics of fuel retailing, he said.

Supermarkets have an even greater share of the market, according to the RAC. Buying fuel at a forecourt run by one of the four major supermarket chains will save drivers around 4p a litre with the average price of petrol standing at 124.83p and diesel 127.36p.

"We urge retailers not to take advantage of drivers and fairly reflect what's happening with wholesale prices on the country's forecourts," Mr Williams added.

Luke Bosdet, the AA's fuel price spokesman, said: "Oil prices rising back above 70 US dollars a barrel casts a shadow over staycation travel, with petrol prices at their highest for 20 months.

"The speed of the price rises at a time when drivers are beginning to travel much longer distances is a post-lockdown shock for many."